David Honeyboy Edwards: The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing

Rawer still is David Honeyboy Edwards’ The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing (Earwig 4940; 49:24). This sparse offering showcases the 82-year-old Delta bluesman accompanied only by harmonica, tracks with either Carey Bell or Rick Sherry. Matters of tuning and tempo are secondary here to the sheer passion and authenticity the octogenarian summons up on Robert Johnson’s “Walkin’ Blues” and “Sweet Home Chicago,” Roosevelt Sykes’ “West Helena Blues” and Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Too Many Drivers.” His slide work on his original “Every Now And Then” is brutal and bone-chilling. There’s also a fascinating spoken word testimony about the death of colleague and friend Robert Johnson, whom Honeyboy describes as being “crazy about whiskey and women.” Producer Michael Robert Frank, Edwards’ manager since 1972, has also collaborated with Janis Martinson on Honeyboy’s autobiography also titled The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing (Chicago Review Press)[See review on page 68-Ed]. Taken together, book and CD represent a captivating and important document of old school blues.